Pesticides

  • Herbicide spraying in Arkansas, USA. Photo: Kevin Wood via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

    Suppressed EPA toxicologist: 'it is essentially certain that glyphosate causes cancer'

    Carey Gillam
    | 14th February 2017
    Letters from an EPA toxicologist to the EPA official in charge of assessing whether glyphosate, the active ingredient of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, causes cancer, reveal accusations of 'staff intimidation' and 'political conniving games with the science' to favour pesticide corporations, writes Carey Gillam. Could this be a game-changer for cancer-suffering plaintiffs?

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  • When we can't even properly regulate fairly simple things like the chemicals coming from this plant in Sarnia, Ontario, what chance have we got with truly 'wicked' problems like genes engineered to spread through populations? Photo: Jon Lin Photography vi

    Gene drives: the scientific case for a complete and perpetual ban

    Jonathan Latham
    | 13th February 2017
    At what point are technologies so complex, uncertain, or unmanageable as to be beyond regulation? The question is key to human and ecological health, writes Jonatham Latham. But instead of learning from successful approaches, such as aviation safety, we are throwing the lessons away when faced with truly complex problems - like chemicals, GMOs, and now 'gene drives'.

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  • Monarch butterfly sipping nectar from milkweed. Photo: Sherri VandenAkker via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

    Monarch butterflies down over a quarter in one year

    The Ecologist
    | 10th February 2017
    It's been another disastrous year for North America's Monarch butterflies, with the insect's population down 27% in a single year. The sudden decline is blamed on severe winter storms in Mexico, and the impacts of GMO crops, herbicides and insecticides on US farms.

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  • After Brexit, currently banned pesticides like atrazine could once again contaminate the British countryside. Photo: Will Fuller via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

    Fighting the Brexit threat to pesticide laws

    Keith Tyrell
    PAN UK
    | 8th February 2017
    After leaving the EU the government could allow dangerous pesticides banned elsewhere in Europe to be used in the UK, writes Keith Tyrell. Today, Pesticides Action Network is launching a new campaign calling on citizens to fight back against the pesticide industry - and ensure that EU directives and regulations serve as a baseline for British pesticide laws.

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  • Pesticide spraying taking place just over the garden fence of a British home. Photo: UK Pesticides Campaign.

    Pesticide deregulation - the real reason for Myron Ebell's Number 10 meeting?

    Georgina Downs
    | 3rd February 2017
    If it wasn't climate change, was the real purpose of the Number 10 meeting of Theresa May's advisors and President Trump's environmental transition supremo Myron Ebell to plan the post-Brexit deregulation of UK farming, including pesticides? That's how it looks, writes Georgina Downs - and we had better begin now to fight for our health, wildlife and environment.

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  • Bottles of Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller relabeled by Global Justice Now activists, April 2016. Roundup contains glyphosate, a chemical that the WHO classifies as 'probably carcinogenic'. Photo: Global Justice Now via Flickr (CC BY).

    On trial: Monsanto's 'alternative facts' about glyphosate

    Carey Gillam
    USRTK
    | 1st February 2017
    Reeling from California's decision to ban glyphosate, fearful of 're-evaluation' by EU and US regulators, and facing ruinous cancer claims in federal courts, the US chemical industry are fighting back, writes Carey Gillam. Their key argument: don't trust independent doctors and scientists - trust us! And as they just told a California court, profit must come before people.

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  • Fatty liver disease, obesity, diabetes and 'metabolic syndrome' may be among the human health consequences of eating glyphosate residues in food, if a new study on rats is anything to go by. Photo: Tony Alter via Flickr (CC BY).

    Roundup residues in food cause fatty liver disease

    Claire Robinson
    GMWatch
    | 9th January 2017
    Cutting-edge molecular profiling analyses reveal that the popular weedkiller Roundup causes serious liver damage to rats at low doses permitted by regulators, reports Claire Robinson. The findings suggest that residues of glyphosate-based herbicides in food could be linked to rises in the incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, obesity, diabetes and 'metabolic syndrome'.

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  • The EPA building in Washington DC. Photo: Mark Ordonez via Flickr (CC BY).

    EPA's systemic bias in hearings over glyphosate and cancer

    Carey Gillam
    | 19th December 2016
    The US Environmental Protection Agency was on the defensive last week in its hearings to determine whether glyphosate, the word's number one herbicide, causes cancer, writes Carey Gillam, as it stood accused of giving preferential treatment to industry representatives, excluding evidence of cancer links, and refusing testimony from a world expert epidemiologist.

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  • Bt GMO crops are designed to combat pests like the Helicoverpa armigera moth, which causes A$25 million of damage a year in Australia alone to crops such as cotton, legumes and vegetables. But there is a cost: damage to beneficial soil fungi. Photo: CSIRO

    Vital soil fungi damaged by GMO Bt cotton

    Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji
    | 24th November 2016
    A study of GMO cotton varieties shows they disrupt an important beneficial soil fungus, writes Eva Sirinathsinghji, apparently due to the Bt insecticide they are engineered to express. Disruption caused by the transgenic cotton to mycorrhizal fungi, and the wider soil ecosystem, may underlie the low yields and poor pest resistance now endemic among Bt GM crops.

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  • A portrait of Luc taken in the Rheinthal (Switzerland) in May 2007.

    Heaven's eyes: Luc Hoffmann, unsung hero of nature conservation

    James Breiding
    | 23rd November 2016
    Born into the wealthy family that founded the Roche pharmaceutical and chemical giant, Luc Hoffman turned his back on the comforts of wealth at an early age, writes James Breiding, and dedicated his life, and his money, to conservation. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to this man of few words, encyclopedic knowledge, decisive action and unswerving commitment.

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  • A total of 1,378 chemicals are banned for use in cosmetics in the EU, as opposed to a mere 11 in the US. Photo: Agnes via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

    Europe must resist chemical industry attacks on health and environment

    Lora Verheecke
    Laura Große
    | 12th October 2016
    Chemical and pesticide industry lobbyists are striving to abolish the European precautionary principle in favour of a so-called 'science-based' approach, write Lora Verheecke & Laura Große. If the EU succumbs to the spin, human health and the environment across Europe will be sacrificed to corporate profit.

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  • Monsanto Graph' in Abode of Chaos by Thierry Ehrmann, Saint Romain en Mont d'Or, France. Photo: Urban Scraper via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

    Bayer-Monsanto merger - corporate madness or a moment of possibility?

    Pat Thomas
    | 19th September 2016
    With the Wall Street Journal warning that the GMO crop boom may be over in the face of superweeds, higher seed prices, falling yields and farmer antipathy, writes Pat Thomas, the Monsanto-Bayer merger is a sign of weakness as both companies struggle to deliver growth and profits to match shareholder expectations. We had better be ready to press home our advantage!

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  • 'Resistance is Fertile - Compost Capitalism !' Banner at Occupy Oakland protest against GMOs, 10th December 2011. Photo: Lily Rhoads via Flickr (CC BY).

    Monsanto and Bayer: food and agriculture just took a turn for the worse

    Colin Todhunter
    | 16th September 2016
    Bayer's $66 billion takeover of Monsanto represents another big click on the ratchet of corporate power over farming and food, writes Colin Todhunter. With the 'big six' of global agribusiness now set to turn into the 'even bigger three', farmers and consumers are facing more GMOs and pesticides, less choice, and deeper price gouging. Agroecology has never looked more attractive.

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  • Jerusalem artichoke harvest at Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire. Photo: Sandy lane Farm via Facebook.

    Good nutrition begins in healthy soils

    Patrick Holden
    | 7th September 2016
    There's no such thing as 'healthy food' if it's not produced by sustainable farming systems on living soils, Patrick Holden told the recent 'Food: The Forgotten Medicine' conference. But after 70 years of industrial farming, there's a huge job to be done to restore our depleted soils and the impoverished genetic diversity of our seeds and crops.

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  • Suffolk farmland at dusk. Photo: Jimmy - S via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

    Dark days ahead for British agriculture? Or green shoots of a brighter future?

    Keith Tyrell
    PAN UK
    | 25th August 2016
    With Brexit the UK will have to chose between two visions of our farming future, writes Keith Tyrell. Will it be heavily subsidised corporate agribusiness that ravages both nature and small, high quality farmers. Or will we seize the chance to build a sustainable food and farming system that supports wildlife, landscape, family farms, organic production and diverse rural economies?

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  • Monsanto's supply of defoliant chemicals for the US's 'Operation Ranchand' in Vietnam is just the first of the alleged 'crimes' for which the company is facing trial in the peoples' tribunal. Photo: manhhai via Flickr (CC BY).

    Holding Monsanto to account: the People's Tribunal

    Heidi Chow
    | 4th August 2016
    This autumn the Monsanto Tribunal will assemble experts from around the world to set out the evidence against the global mega-corporation, which will stand accused of monstrous 'crimes' against people and the environment. The Tribunal's verdict will not be legally binding - this time. But on a future occasion, it may be.

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  • Brexit - a nasty sting in the tail for Britain's bees?

    Dave Timms
    | 21st June 2016
    Britain's bees are under threat from Brexit and moves to allow farmers to use banned bee-harming 'neonictinoid' pesticides, warns Dave Timms, Bees Campaigner with Friends of the Earth. With 20 species extinct since 1900 and a further 35 under threat, how much more can our bees take?

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  • Are we the real lab rats? If glyphosate herbicides can mess up rats uterine development, what's it doing to humans? Photo: Tatiana Bulyonkova via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

    Glyphosate disrupts rats' uterine development

    GMWatch
    | 21st June 2016
    As the EU prepares to vote on whether to re-authorise glyphosate this week, a new study finds that commercial formulations of the herbicide alter the development of rats' uteruses, potentially causing cancer and affecting fertility.

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  • Just about every one of the 11,000 organochlorine chemicals in industrial use is harmful - so maybe we should just ban the lot, rather than worry about a handful of 'bad actors'. Photo: Grey World via Flickr (CC BY).

    The problem is not glyphosate, or DDT, or BPA - we must challenge the entire system!

    Jonathan Latham
    | 20th May 2016
    Apparent 'victories' in the fight against toxic chemicals - like the EU's failure to re-approve glyphosate yesterday - are illusory, writes Jonathan Latham. The real problem is not one of specific 'bad actors', but the entire system that allows new, likely to be toxic compounds to pollute the environment in near-total ignorance of their impacts. It's time to take our campaigning to a whole new level.

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  • What the European Parliament wanted to ban: glyphosate being applied to oilseed rape as a pre-harvest dessicant. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY).

    Glyphosate in the EU: product promoters masquerading as regulators in a 'cesspool of corruption'?

    Colin Todhunter
    | 17th May 2016
    With EU ministers due to decide tomorrow on the future of the glyphosate in the EU, Colin Todhunter finds evidence of collusion between regulators and the corporations whose sales of the 'probably carcinogenic' herbicide add up to many billions of dollars a year - evidence that underlies a legal action alleging fraud by the European Food Safety Authority against the EU's 508 million citizens.

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